As the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Class was announced, there was yet another glaring omission, former San Francisco Giants standout Barry Bonds. This is Bonds fifth year of eligibility for the hall.
Major League Baseball has always been considered a “gentleman’s game.” That has been the reason Bonds has gotten passed over each year. He was known to be callous with the media during his career. Bonds alleged PED use throughout the latter half of his career also did not help his cause.
What voters must realize is that many of the “gentleman” that are currently inducted do not the standards that they hold Bonds to. Ty Cobb once hit and spat at an umpire. Mickey Mantle was a known alcoholic. Babe Ruth was an alleged womanizer. If these three can get inducted despite their off the field issues, then Bonds definitely deserves to.
Also voters have to see that despite his alleged steroid use, Bonds was the best player in the league for more than a decade. He won eight gold gloves, seven MVPs, and was a frequent member of the 30-30 club. He could hit for average, hit for power, run, and field. It’s hard to believe that steroids can make you accomplish these feats. While they may give you an extra boost of strength, a player still needs hand-eye coordination to make contact on the ball.
Bonds struck absolute fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers for over a decade. From 1993-2007, he had more intentional walks than eight teams combined. Nearly half of Bond’s 2,935 career hits were extra-base hits. The only man that comes close is Hank Aaron at 39 percent. He is the only man to have at least 400 homeruns and 400 stolen bases for his career. It’s almost laughable how far ahead he is in certain statistical categories.
Whether baseball purists want to admit it or not, the steroid era of the late 90s and 2000s brought new life into the sport. Fans were tuning in to watch the homerun chase of 1998, where 13 players hit 40 or more that season. Until that season, attendance dipped because of the labor dispute in 1994 that forced the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. It is unfair for baseball to rake in the benefits of that era and not reward its biggest star by inducting him into the hall.
When it comes to voting a player into the hall, the only thing that should matter is what they accomplished on the field. Bonds wasn’t the most likeable person, but he was a damn good player. It’s a shame that a sport that prides themselves on history is doing everything they can to erase the legacy of one of its greatest names.